How self-discipline can make you a better jazz player

By Michael Lake | June 12, 2021 |

My book Self-Discipline Superpower is sparking some interesting conversations. Thank you to those who have added to that conversation. I’ve been thinking… There seems to be a connection between self-discipline and authentic (real, personal, true, etc.) jazz playing. I’ve been talking a lot recently (for years, actually) about the difference between playing notes and playing…

Left versus right brain in the process of learning to improvise

By Michael Lake | May 29, 2021 |

The left and right hemispheres of your brain have a complex relationship, and that relationship facilitates how you function in every aspect of your life including how well you play jazz. I like to talk about the roles each hemisphere plays in creating art, specifically jazz improvisation. Think of the left side as the analytical…

What you’re missing in most online teaching of jazz

By Michael Lake | May 19, 2021 |

I’m building a new way to distribute all of my content online, and currently focused on how best to describe its value and how it’s different from everything else out there. So I’ve been thinking… There’s no shortage right now of diverse online jazz learning resources, from single source musicians to large sites featuring great…

How to develop your most authentic and best jazz playing

By Michael Lake | May 3, 2021 |

I received an email yesterday from a well-known jazz musician who after watching someone on Youtube “teaching jazz’ on the piano using root position chords on ii-V-I’s asked me… “Is it true that the more stupid and simplistic the delivery is, the more popular it is?” This video had over a quarter-million views, by the way.…

Richie Beirach on how you can develop a good instinctive sense of time

By Michael Lake | April 24, 2021 |

Remember the scene in the movie What About Bob where Bob Wiley (Bill Murray), terrified of being on a boat, is tied to the mast as he proudly yells, “I sail! I’m sailing! I’m a sailor!”? That’s my inside joke with Richie Beirach when we talk about him reading comments from my blog. He might not like…

Quick and easy websites for jazz musicians

By Michael Lake | April 21, 2021 |

I recently created websites for a couple of musicians. And the process reminded me of how simple it has become to create a good-looking site that serves a variety of purposes. So, the question for you is, how’s YOUR website? Have you been feeling guilty about its dated look and limited functionality? Did you start…

Is this your time to consider a new business idea?

By Michael Lake | March 30, 2021 |

On Labor day 1995, an Iranian-American named Pierre Omidyar tried auctioning off some stuff on his personal website that he no longer wanted. He wasn’t sure if he could drum up any business through this relatively new phenomenon called the World Wide Web, but it seemed worth trying. Among the items he posted was a…

The exhilaration of not falling to my death

By Michael Lake | March 27, 2021 |

Our fear and exhilaration one afternoon during last week’s spring break provided an important moment for both my son and for me-and perhaps for something worth your consideration. My 17-year old and I traveled to the northern Arizona mountains last week in anticipation of a well-deserved change of scenery and mindset. One of the activities…

A reaction I hadn’t expected to my recent audiobook

By Michael Lake | March 21, 2021 |

After announcing the audiobook version of the softcover book Richie Beirach and I recently published called A Framework for Jazz Mastery, I received a terrific response from a customer. Before I share with you what he wrote, let me share one objective for the books I’ve published over this past year with Richie, Dave Liebman,…

Fun with drone tracks

By Michael Lake | March 19, 2021 |

I enjoy crafting harmony tracks with which to practice. They are not usually jazz, but instead are more ethereal. Here’s one I like because the harmony slowly becomes more complex and ear-stretching. Things to do with them: Sing some scales and melodies over it in order to get your ear in tune With your instrument…